Developing Wellsite Geology Software

Over the years I have been able to work on many different software projects. Some of these were stand-alone applications, others were client server applications that made good use of the local networks. A lot of Web development and working with Web technologies also played a part. All of these projects were challenging but not nearly as complex as the software industry with its myriad languages, technologies – its crazy jargon and seemingly endless acronyms. That was until now.

You see, now I have been immersed into the giant world of the oil and gas industry. They have their own languages and enough acronyms to make even a hardened software guy shudder. When you come across terms like datum, TVD (True Vertical Depth), mudlogging, RT (Rotary Table Elevation), MSL (Mean Sea Level), MDRT (Measured Depth from the Rotary Table), KB (Kelly Bushing), AHD (Australian Height Datum), plus many, many more – you have to stop and scratch your head.

Although being a specialist within the software industry with many years of experience and qualifications, it is much easier dealing with database tables with fields like FirstName, LastName, StreetAddress and Phone than it is with fields like Calcimetry_mg, AGSO_Id, iC4, LagDepthMD and Dolomite. If you are a geologist or work in the oil and gas industry then these terms may already be familiar to you. However, most people are absolutely flabbergasted when confronted by such terms. I know that I am.

When doing database mappings from one format into another, it is much simpler to look at FirstName and LastName fields in the source database and then see that they have to be concatenated in order to fit the single CustomerName field belonging to the destination database. This is not so easy when you don’t understand the geological meanings of terms and what they signify.

To some extent, you can still apply knowledge that you have from the software industry that does not have an immediate impact from any outside source. So, for example, you know how to setup Apache config files or modify IIS to configure the geology website and this requires no knowledge of wellsite geology terminology whatsoever. The knowledge of how to create a class and reference it does not change. There are many other aspects where your software, database and system skills are not impeded by the complexity of the field that you are working in.

All said and done, I am finding my introduction to the oil and gas industry not without incident and its fair share of activity. There is nothing sleepy about this industry as it seems to be a 24/7 worldwide operation and they don’t stop for weekends.